Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Invasion Of The Secret Squirrels

It was shortly after I published my first book Famous American Freemasons back in 2007 and I was doing a booksigning at the Waldenbooks at Market Place Mall in Champaign, Illinois.  Those early booksigning events were torture.  I'd get a large coffee, set up on a card table at the front of the store with a stack of books, and for about three hours, customers at the store would make a wide circle around me and try not to make eye contact.  Don't act like you don't know what I mean--you've done the same thing at Barnes & Noble I'm sure, or as you've walked by the guy at the replacement windows and vinyl siding kiosk at the mall.  Imagine my surprise when this guy comes up, picks up my book, and engages me in conversation about American history and Freemasonry.  I was sure he was going to pull a card out of his pocket and start talking to me about new rain gutters for my house.

We were having a pleasant conversation, and I thought I was actually going to sell a book, when slowly it began to dawn on me that this guy wasn't quite wired up right--not that I wouldn't have sold him a book.  I don't discriminate, and often, crazy people will buy more than one.  I'd even offer a discount if they want to buy a copy for every member of his support group/asylum.

Anyway, this guy started listing off all these men that were allegedly Freemasons--most of whom I knew for a fact weren't.  Obviously, he didn't realize he was talking to the "Famous Freemason" guy--I mean he had my book in his hand . . . about Famous Freemasons.  I knew a little something about it.  I tried to correct him, but he was on a rant, talking about how Freemasonry and the Illuminati had infiltrated governments and started wars--all to further their hidden agenda and their power.

"Now where do the pancake breakfasts fit into that plan?" I asked him.  I was joking of course, because I really thought maybe he was just kidding at that point.  I just couldn't believe anybody was actually that paranoid.  I was wrong.

"You can laugh," he warned.  "But the money you're raising is probably buying hand gernades and landmines."

"No, I'm pretty sure the money we raise supports the lodge, and helps out groups we sponsor like the Boy Scouts and the Girl Scouts . . ."

"Yes, the Freemasons indoctrinate youth groups like that--the Hilter Youth of the Freemasons.  Most Masons don't know about this stuff--it's all controlled by a small group at the top!"

He was shouting by then, and pointing at me.  That was about the time mall security showed up, and escorted him to the door.  The manager of the bookstore apologized profusely.  That was my first experience with the "Secret Squirrels" a.k.a. Masonic Conspiracy Theorists, and it was an eye-opener.  Wow!

I've run across them a number of times since.  In 2009, my website was hacked, and one of these groups (or maybe an individual) posted what was allegedly my "confession" about what Freemasonry actually did right on my own website!  Sadly, I didn't notice it for a week.  I haven't seen it for awhile, but it's popped up a few times since and is used as "evidence."  In 2011, all three of my email accounts crashed at the same time, and I was some time getting those back up again.  Then a nice picture of me popped up on one of their websites--my head and Darth Vader's body.  The accompanying article said I was part of the Freemasons "official misinformation" campaign.  I sure didn't know that, but I'd missed a few meetings recently, and when you miss meetings, you get volunteered for stuff.  I checked with several of the appendant bodies I belong to and I wasn't part of any "official misinformation" committees, but did learn I am the chairman of the "snide remarks and sarcastic comments" committee.  That photo still pops up every once in awhile--I kind of liked it actually and used it as my Facebook profile picture for awhile. 

Fortunately, I think they've given up on me--and it very well could have just been one person.  Who knows?  But every so often to this day, somebody will post a weird comment on here, or on the Midnight Freemasons blog.  Hopefully, they are picking on somebody else now.

Freemasonry has always had its critics, and traditionally, the way our Fraternity has responded to critics is by saying nothing.  And that's probably the correct way to go about it (I know for a fact using humor on them is like using a hornets nest as a pinata).  I know there are many out there vigorously defending our honor with nothing but good intentions, but I question the wisdom of trying to do that.  Do you think you're going to win them over?  Hardly likely.  I think the way our forefathers dealt with critics of the Fraternity was much wiser--ignore them.  When you're trying to make a positive change in the world, there are always going to be those that are going to question your motives.  As Mark Twain said, "Never argue with stupid people, they will drag you down to their level and then beat you with experience." 

~TEC

Todd E. Creason is an author and novelist whose work includes the award-winning non-fiction historical series Famous American Freemasons and the novels One Last Shot (2011) and A Shot After Midnight (2012). He's currently working on the third novel Shot to Hell which will be released in Spring 2014

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